Word of the day


Reintarnation – coming back as a hillbilly.

Tech support request


An email from a reader said:

 . . .  when I click on other sites on the side bar I get a blank page. Might be me, but have closed your site and then re-installed it – same result.

I tried clicking on other sites from a laptop and our office computer and had no problems.

Has anyone else had problems?

Whether or not you are the reader, and I, would appreciate advice on how to fix the problem.

How did that happen?


RivettingKate Taylor mentioned that there’s only five more sleeps until Christmas.

How did that happen?

It used to take years to get from one Christmas to the next but I’d swear the last one was only a few weeks ago.

Costs not worth the benefits


Remits seeking to enable single income families to split their income for tax purposes used to be hardy annuals at National Party conferences.

I used to think it was a good idea but patient explanations from people who work on facts rather than emotion persuaded me to change my mind.

One point raised was the difficulty if the income earner had an accident or became ill – his or her ACC  or insurance payments would be based on the split income not the full one.

High administration costs; an increase in marginal tax rates if the partner on no or low income started work, worked longer hours or got a pay rise; and the bulk of the benefit going to those who needed it least were other arguments raised.

Lower taxes and a simpler tax system would do more for most people than tinkering which adds compliance costs.

These arguments apply to the income splitting bill Peter Dunne is trying to get through parliament and several government departments have raised other concerns:

Papers obtained by Radio New Zealand News under the Official Information Act show the Government consulted the Labour and Inland Revenue departments, the Ministries of Social Development and Women’s Affairs and the Treasury.

The departments raised concerns the proposal discourages women’s workforce participation, discriminates against sole-parent and low-income families, and increases the gender pay gap.

I’m not going to take issue with any of these points but note all these arguments could be used against Working for Families.

Only one poll counts but …


Of course there’s only one poll that counts and that’s the one held on election day.

But count or not,  last night’s One News Colmar Brunton poll provides a positive finish to the year for National.

Christmas has come early for National, which ends the year polling more than 20 points ahead of Labour.

But there’s no sign of cheer for Phil Goff with the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll showing him nearly 50 points behind John Key in the preferred Prime Minister stakes.

National streets ahead in final ONE News poll for 2010 (Source: ONE News)

December 20 in history


On December 20:

69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, entered Rome to claim the title of emperor.

Vespasianus01 pushkin edit.png


217 – The papacy of Zephyrinus ended. Callixtus I was elected as the sixteenth pope, but was opposed by the theologian Hippolytus who accused him of laxity and of being a Modalist, one who denies any distinction between the three persons of the Trinity.

1192  Richard the Lion-Heart was captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade.

  • 1522Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.

    1803 – The Louisiana Purchase was completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.

    Location of Louisiana Purchase
    1865  Elsie De Wolfe, American socialite and interior decorator, was born  (d. 1950).
    1868 Harvey Firestone, American automobile pioneer, was born (d. 1938).
    1894  Sir Robert Menzies, twelfth Prime Minister of Australia was born (d. 1978).
    1901  Robert Van de Graaff, American physicist and inventor, was born  (d. 1967).
    1907  Paul Francis Webster, songwriter, was born  (d. 1984).
     1913 The Great Strike of 1913, which began in late October when Wellington waterside workers stopped work, ended when the United Federation of Labour (UFL) conceded defeat.

    Waterfront strike ends

    1927  Kim Young-sam, first civilian President of South Korea after a series of dictatorships, was born.

    1944  Bobby Colomby, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.

    1945 Peter Criss, American drummer and singer (Kiss), was born.

    1948 Alan Parsons, British music producer and artist, was born.

    1951 The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricy.  The electricity powered four light bulbs.

    Experimental Breeder Reactor Number 1 in Idaho, the first power reactor.

    1955Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

     Cardiff City Hall

    1957  Billy Bragg, English singer and songwriter, was born.

    1973 Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, was assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.

    1984 The Summit tunnel fire, the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million litres of petrol derails near the town of Todmorden in the Pennines.

     1987 History’s worst peacetime sea disaster, when the passenger ferry Doña Paz sank after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines  killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).

    1988 The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was signed in Vienna

    1989  United States invasion of Panama: The United States sent troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega.

    1995  NATO began peacekeeping in Bosnia.

    1996 NeXT merged with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.

    1999 Macau was handed over to the People’s Republic of China by Portugal.

    2007  Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.

    Smiling elderly lady with grey hair wearing a matching hat and dress

    2007 – The painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by Pablo Picasso, was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art, along with O Lavrador de Café, by the major Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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